On Wednesday, the Olympia Site Plan Review Committee heard a proposal for the redevelopment of the former Greyhound bus station downtown as a mixed-use project featuring a taproom, office space, and food truck court.
Dominic Lapraim and his wife Jacqueline Johnson discussed their plans to convert the historic building at 107 7th Avenue SE. Part of their proposal is to move his business – Homestreet Electric – to the rear of the building while developing the interior as a taproom. An outdoor area would host food trucks.
In the narrative, the applicants stated that they would reuse the old Greyhound bus station building in a way that maintains its historic character.
Currently, the old Greyhound bus station is vacant. Before that, it was used as a COVID-19 testing facility during the pandemic.
Associate Land Use Planner Jackson Ewing said the proposed uses of a taproom, office space, and food truck court are allowed in the downtown business district zone.
Ewing said the project would not trigger land use review requirements as it involves only interior remodeling. He added that a design review will likely not be required if the exterior character is maintained. However, the project must still comply with all zoning and other code requirements.
Ewing also addressed the plan for alcohol service, noting that the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board has specific requirements about where alcohol can and cannot be served.
Ewing informed the applicants that they need to show a site plan sketch showing specifically designated spaces for food trucks, including spacing requirements and allowed parking locations. He added that each food truck operator must obtain a temporary use permit from the city by applying individually.
Engineering Plans Examiner Zulaika Kim said the city prefers a dedicated onsite waste disposal facility for rotating food trucks. She said this would allow food trucks to dispose of their graywater through a grease interceptor, eventually flowing out to the sewer.
Typically, Kim noted, food trucks are not connected to the sewer because they are considered temporary and covered under a temporary use permit. The city and the Thurston County Department of Health require food trucks to have onboard tanks and to discharge their graywater at the LOTT treatment facility. However, having a disposal facility on site would eliminate the need for daily graywater dumping.
Fire Marshall Kevin Bossard noted that food trucks inside a building would be complex, as most fires involving food trucks are due to propane leaks or tank failures.
To mitigate the risk, Bossard outlined the following recommendations:
· Removing ignition sources near propane tanks and disconnecting batteries when trucks are inside.
· A 10-foot separation between trucks and building/property lines would be required. Earthquake bracing is also important, given that fuel systems operate inside trucks.
· As with gas detection testing for propane leaks, the ventilation of grease-laden vapors and smoke must be addressed.
· Nearby hydrants and sprinkler requirements were also noted.
Bossard also advised that a fire protection engineer evaluate safety plans, as food trucks inside a building are uncommon. Given the risks of propane-fueled vehicles inside the structure, he emphasized the need for careful consideration.
Historic Preservation Officer Holly Borth discussed the potential for federal historic tax credits, as the property is on the National Register of Historic Places. Washington State also offers a special valuation property tax incentive program.
Borth recommended pursuing the federal credits first to get approval from the National Parks Service.
If the applicants wish to pursue special valuation, the project must be completed within two years of application. Borth offered to help guide the applicants through the federal tax credit process.
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